October 17th, 2017

Dancing, song help kick off Indigenous Awareness Week


By Mabell, Dave on June 20, 2017.

People gather at the Galt Museum for an Aboriginal Awareness Week Feast on Monday afternoon. Herald photo by Tijana Martin @TMartinHerald

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

dmabell@lethbridgeherald.com

Traditional dances, song and greetings were shared Monday, launching Indigenous Awareness Week in southern Alberta. But this year, community groups have prepared a full week of public events for Lethbridge and area.

The Galt Museum was the setting for Monday’s grand opening and lunch. Speeches were kept to a minimum, allowing native and non-native participants time to enjoy a selection of Blackfoot dances and admire the dancers’ intricate costumes.

Tony Delaney served as emcee for the presentation, describing the variety of dances seen at competitions and community celebrations. And Ira Provost, speaking for the Piikani chief and council, issued an invitation to National Aboriginal Day celebrations Wednesday in Pincher Creek, starting at noon near the arena.

Members of the local Metis Association were also part of Monday’s kickoff, as they will be at Pincher Creek. Elder Roderick McLeod reported membership in Lethbridge and area now numbers about 1,500.

The Galt Museum will be the site of an additional event this week, an Elders’ tea starting at 11 a.m. Friday. And in its hallway exhibit space, continuing through Sept. 17, artworks by students at Kainai High School are reflecting their culture and identity now.

Indigenous Awareness Week events continue today with a meet-and-greet starting at 11 a.m. from the city’s Metis Association office in the Administration Building on 3 Avenue North. Later in the day, Ontario indigenous artist and activist Teddy Syrette will address “Inclusion and Diverse Gender Norms” during a Lethbridge Pride Fest presentation starting at 7 p.m. in the ballroom in the Students’ Union Building at the University of Lethbridge.

Fort Whoop-Up will also host several feature events, including today’s opening reception at 4 p.m. for “LandMarks 2017,” a no-charge presentation of artworks by U of L students on aboriginal themes.

On Wednesday, National Aboriginal Day activities at the fort will include Metis storytelling, Blackfoot stories, a hoop dancer, a scavenger hunt and kids’ activity tables. A “mini-powwow” is scheduled for 2 p.m.

At Galt Gardens on Wednesday, a concert highlighting contemporary indigenous music will run from 1 to 6 p.m. Performers lined up by the Urban Indigenous Inter-Agency include Tyson Goodstriker and Friends, Chief Mountain, Fox Eyes, Carl Brave Rock and the Grassland Singers.

On Wednesday evening, a story of Inuit and non-native residents working together will be screened in Lethbridge and Pincher Creek. “Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things” is a documentary covering the inspiration and presentation of the very first LGBTQ Pride festival in Nunavut. No-charge screenings are scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Kainai Public Library in Brocket as well as the Theatre Gallery in the downtown Lethbridge Public Library.

Alberta Health Services will hold an “Indigenous Health Celebration” on Thursday, starting at 10 a.m. in the Ceremonial Room on the fourth floor of the new wing at Chinook Regional Hospital. The event will continue there at 1 p.m. with an Elders’ tea.

The week’s celebrations will conclude Friday with a community gathering in a teepee in Galt Gardens. Billed as “Everyone Comes Together,” it will include coffee, tea and a light breakfast along with drumming and song. It’s set for 9:30 a.m., with everybody invited.

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